Steve Mercer will compete at this year’s Isle of Man TT after signing a last minute deal with Jackson Racing.
The Kent rider had been testing with the official Honda Racing team and was ready to deputise for Ian Hutchinson, however the Bingley rider was declared fit to race last week.
Mercer will now ride the Preston-based team’s Honda Fireblade SP2 machine in the RST Superbike, RL360 Superstock and PokerStars Senior TT races.
The move sees Mercer reunite with a team he’s enjoyed great success with having ridden for them in 2011, 2012 and 2016. In 2016, Mercer equalled his best ever result with eighth in the opening Supersport race, following this up with 10th in the Superstock race, 11th in the second Supersport encounter and 12th in the Superbike race.
The 36-year-old also posted personal best laps on all of the machines including a lap of 129.323mph in the Superbike class, which makes him the 22nd fastest rider of all time.
Speaking about the deal, Mercer said:
“It’s certainly been a busy few weeks and I’m delighted to be back with the Jackson Racing team as I’ve really enjoyed riding for them in the past. My best results, whether on the roads, short circuits or in World Endurance have always been on Hondas and with all the work that’s gone on recently, I will be on one of the best SP2’s available. I was incredibly grateful to get the call from Honda Racing to fill in for Hutchy at the tests at Castle Combe and Cadwell Park and it really helped get my confidence back.
“I was happy to be on stand-by and would have been ready to race if Ian wasn’t ready but, equally, having done a lot of work on the bike and got my hunger back for the TT, I didn’t want to be on the sidelines so I’m very thankful to all concerned for putting the deal together. Alan and Andy (Jackson) are like family to me and Alan’s always been on hand with advice over the years and they always put out great bikes. Like I say, my confidence is back and I’m itching to get going.”
Since making his debut in 2009, Mercer has racked up 16 top 20 finishes, which includes nine in the top 12, and he has won 11 silver and 10 bronze replicas in that nine year period.
Joining him at Jackson Racing for the TT will be Dan Kneen and Craig Neve on Honda CBR600RR’s in the two Supersport races. Neve will also compete in the Superbike and Senior TT races on a BMW S1000RR machine.